Bye Bye Countdown Supermarkets

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Lately I have had some major dramas at my local Countdown supermarket. The problem is always caused by the same thing – yoghurt coated raisins which I buy every week from the pick and mix bins. The problem with this started several years ago when they decided to do away with individual codes for the different pick and mix items and just have two simple codes: pick and mix OR chocolate. My guess is this saves them plastic bags and does away with the need for a pen to write the code down for the cashier – you can chuck all your different types of lollies such as milk bottles, snakes, jellybeans, sherbets and yoghurt coated raisins in the same bag, cool – NOT!!!

Usually it’s not a problem but every now and then a cashier would look at my raisins and decide they are chocolate and so I would get charged 10 times as much as I should be and I never noticed till one day I was looking at my supermarket receipt and spotted a charge for chocolate which didn’t make sense as I hadn’t bought any chocolate. I thought I better watch them next time I buy the raisins and sure enough the next time the cashier did the same thing, so I corrected her and she said sorry and went through the big ordeal of reversing the charge and finding the correct code and weighing them all over again. This takes time and people in the queue behind me start glaring at me for holding them up.

After this started happening frequently I asked a supervisor what I should do to stop this happening, she said to tell the cashier as she puts it through its pick and mix not chocolate. This didn’t seem like such a hard thing to do but sometimes the look or tone from the cashier would tell me that clearly I thought they were stupid or something and this too became an unpleasant part of the shopping routine.

But the final straw came two weeks ago when the hideous OLD cashier woman said: “oh ok if you insist but actually these are chocolates”. I said: “no they’re not they are yoghurt coated raisins, not chocolate.” She said in a very patronising voice “oh whatever, don’t worry I’ll put them through for you as pick and mix but they’re not, they ARE chocolate.”

I couldn’t believe how nasty she was and worse I couldn’t believe how she was accusing me of lying and obviously trying to rip the supermarket off. Our argument continued for several minutes in the same manner till I demanded loudly to see her manager, the manager heard this and came rushing over. The cashier told her there was no problem everything was ok and sorted, I told her it was definitely NOT sorted and demanded the cashier tell the manager exactly what the problem was. She sarcastically said to the manager: ” this gentleman is upset coz he believes these are pick and mix, so I have put them through as pick and mix for him but I have told him they are actually chocolate.” The MANAGER put her hand on my shoulder in a comforting sort of way and said: ” that’s ok sir, don’t worry about it we have charged you the pick and mix price BUT they really are chocolates.”

At that point in front of all the customers after many years of being patient I finally lost it and yelled at the manager and demanded she follow me to the pick and mix section, where I showed her that they are NOT CHOCOLATE. She looked shocked apologised most profusely and explained they must have just changed. More yelling took place as I told her NO THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PICK AND MIX. Then I calmed down and explained to her how sick and tired of this whole issue I am every time I come to the supermarket, how I’ve tried everything to not have this problem, how I’ve written on the bag in huge letters this is not chocolate and reused the same bag every week, how I’ve tried everything and yet your cashiers are rude and ignorant and have no idea of how to treat customers and on and on and on I went. Finally I ran out of steam and she said she was sorry once again and didn’t know what to do about it, she wouldn’t charge me for the raisins this time I could have them for free. Whoopee Do a savings of $2.00

I told her I don’t care about the money that’s not the issue here the problem is with the way you people – suddenly I stopped and said “thank you, I give up!” We walked back to the checkout in silence I paid for my groceries and walked out. I don’t ever want to go back there again, so in the last couple of weeks I have been trying alternative supermarkets and because all the supermarkets near me are Countdown branded I have the same problem everywhere. Then on Thursday night I found supermarket heaven!!!

Albany New World is FABULOUS. They have:

  • perfect sized trolleys that you don’t feel stupid wheeling around with hardly anything in
  • huge wide aisles
  • Very friendly and helpful staff who actually take you to where something you are looking for is located, not just grunt and point in some random direction
  • good prices
  • two people at every checkout one to process your shopping and one to pack it
  • individual codes for every single item at the huge pick and mix, plus a working pen and a little set of scales for weighing your stuff
  • Fly Buys points on everything you buy
  • BUT best of all, a fun self serve check out with no rude old lady arguing with you about what is chocolate and what isn’t. The computer even agreed with me, they ARE yoghurt coated raisins!!!
  • So goodbye big corporate nasty Countdown, I don’t care that I have to travel a bit further to do my shopping from now on, I don’t even care that some things may cost a little more but so far they haven’t, in fact three of the things I bought were a lot cheaper. This morning I went past a New World supermarket nearer my house, so I popped in for a quick look and in the short time I was there one guy asked if I was looking for something special, two people smiled at me and the cashier was very happy and friendly and yes they had yoghurt coated raisins with their own code, bags and a pen!

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